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Galapagos Island Volcano Erupts!

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A dark plume estimated to be 10km (6.4 miles) high was reported from the Volcan Wolf as its known on Monday 25/05/2015 when it first started spewing lava in the early morning.

Isabela Island is where the volcano has erupted, on the largest of the Galapagos Islands. The elevation of the Volcano is 5,600 feet above sea level, which makes it the Island’s highest point.

There was initial concern for the people residing on the island, however it was later found that the islands residents are safe from the eruption, yet some of the ash cloud could descend upon them. The Volcano and island drift along the Equator and the erupting Volcano is directly on the Equator.

The Wolf Volcano has not erupted for the past 30 years, 33 years to be precise.

isabela

The island was formed by the merger of 6 shield volcanoes – Alcedo, Cerro Azul, Darwin, Ecuador, Sierra Negra and Wolf, the island is aged at approximately the 1.5 million year old mark . All of these volcanoes are still active, except Ecuador, which means Isabela is evidently the most volcanically active place on Earth.

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The island is shaped like a seahorse resulting from the merging of six large volcanoes into a single landmass.

The island which is home to the world’s only Pink Iguana a new species (only discovered in 2009) which lives at the top of the Volcano North crater.

Isabela Island is also home to more Tortoises than any other island, they roam there in mass numbers with no threat of predators, carving out paths amongst the fauna that grows on Isabela.

The abundance of species on Isabela is astounding there are also other wildlife such as penguins, cormorants, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, pelicans and crabs. Galapagos land iguanas, finches, Galapagos hawks, Galapagos doves are all on the island too, where Charles Darwin studied on the theory of evolution.

At Present the Volcano has been oozing lava on the South face, so potentially the Pink Iguanas (an endangered species) may have had time to escape danger. The Wolf is said to be between 0.7 and 1.5 million years old. Island officials say there is no danger to tourists as yet.

Galapagos Pink Land Iguana (Conolophus marthae) new species described in 2009, open mouth threat display, Isabella Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Teleporting experiment on the Brain!

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brainThis experiment shows how the brain constructs an identity or sense of self when posed with the situation of being teleported.

Teleporting – What did the Scientists do?

Scientist Arvid Guterstam is a neuroscientist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden and worked with his team to find out through this perceptually illusory experiment what and how parts of the brain process, produce and react to teleporting their body to somewhere else.

Fifteen people were experimented on to learn the brain activity that goes on in there heads when faced with Scientists Guterstam’s illusion which gives the experimented participants a realistic teleporting experience with visuals and the sense of touch is applied in this experiment to provide the full teleporting feel.

And how did they do it?

The fMRI (Brain scanner) machine scanned the participants whilst they were laying on their backs, whilst attached to them was a visual display screen which was attached to a camera on a mannequin in the same room. The experiment allowed the person to look through the eyes of the dummy, which shows the room (and themselves in the scanner) in the dummy’s point of view. Then the sense of touch is brought into the experiment when simultaneously the dummy is stroked alongside the person in the scanner. Providing the teleporting experience.

dummy

What happened?

The Scientists found that the brain experiences an out of body experience and they were able to see the parts of the brain that were working when this happened, a key finding was learning the brains sense of the self through body and the sense of self location. Identifying the parts of the brain that were being stimulated was key and this happened through comparing the results of the participants with a map like study of brain patterns which were analysed and then compared.

arvid

What part of the Brain lights up in a fMRI Scan whilst in a teleporting experience?

The posterior cingulate cortex, a region deep in the middle of the brain, near the back of the head lit up when faced with the teleporting experience and combined the ability to perceive sense of self through the body and the sense of self location.

Before the experiment little was known about the uses of the posterior cingulate cortex in the latter functions; “We normally discover a lot about brain function by studying people who have had a stroke, but the cingulate cortex is located in between stroke-prone areas and is rarely affected itself. “This means we know little about its function, it’s a very mysterious area.” Said Neuro-scientist Arvid Guterstam (above).

What the Scientists knew before the experiment:

“What Scientists did know was that the cingulate cortex was already linked with emotion formation, memory and learning, and that any abnormal activity in the cingulate cortex has been linked to depression and schizophrenia and (as they expected from previous and other experiments/studies/findings) the parietal lobe and premotor cortex were also involved in generating the teleporting illusion.

“These parts of the brain are known for integrating information from different senses to build higher representations of the body,” says lead author of the study Guterstam. Other areas, known to house specialised place and grid cells that help us navigate, were also active during the illusion.

“This finding is particularly interesting because it indicates that place cells are not only involved in navigation and memory encoding, but are also important for generating the conscious experience of one’s body in space,” says principal investigator Henrik Ehrsson, professor at the Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet.

Brainstorm

Social Context:

The teleporting experience shows the beginnings of study into the perceptual self and the mapping in the future of the brain to provide a succint picture of the brains functions. This study came about in inspiration of the Studies in rats which has shown that specific regions of the brain contain GPS-like ‘place cells’ that signal the rat’s position in the room – a discovery that was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology of Medicine. To date, however, it remains unknown how the human brain shapes our perceptual experience of being a body somewhere in space, and whether the regions that have been identified in rats are involved in this process.

“The sense of being a body located somewhere in space is essential for our interactions with the outside world and constitutes a fundamental aspect of human self-consciousness,” says Arvid Guterstam. “Our results are important because they represent the first characterization of the brain areas that are involved in shaping the perceptual experience of the bodily self in space.”

diabrain

Conclusion:

The experiment of the rats was a key point in this type of Science and this teleporting experiment is also a key point and a stepping stone to the beginning of this kind of scientific study which links so well with the social aspect and study of our perceptions of the self in a social context. Future studies like this are likely to occur given the buzz around the field for Mind mapping and whether they will identify key factors in the functioning of the brain as did Arvid Guterstam and his team is likely to take place over time, however the race seems to be on to Map the mind as soon as possible.

Try tried and Trident again!?!

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election 2015

So here’s the run down on Trident (four submarines armed with missiles and warheads) and the outline to what the news and concerns are about Trident:

Conservatives pledge to upgrade Trident as do some other parties, good, bad, or unsure?

Whilst Shadow Labour Welsh Secretary Mr Smith hinted that Labour would ‘get rid’ of the funding for Trident.

The Trident issue will be resolved after the election, when it will be settled whether Trident will be replaced, upgraded or scrapped and the SNP and Green’s are aiming to do the latter.

The Liberal Democrats are not keen on Trident and want to make cuts to Trident with an aim to limit the current fleet of four submarines to three, this would see three subs renewed and one scrapped, and savings made.

trident

Ukip has said that it would cancel the Trident replacement in favour of a cheaper “advanced stealth cruise-type missile” that can be delivered by land, sea or air.

With all this talk of the General Election 2015 coming up, Trident has become a focus and decisions on Trident’s future has become speculative.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said about Ed Miliband as using Trident the Nuclear Deterrent as a chip to be bargaining with the SNP over, who are wanting an open vote in Parliament on the pending issue of Trident, which Labour are said to be in favour for, although prior to this Ed Miliband had said he was committed to Trident.

Trident’s missiles, warheads, and submarines are no doubt costly according to a series of statements made in Parliament by ministers of the Minstry of Defence  in 2008 and 2012 the annual operating costs of the Trident programme amount to around 5 to 6 per cent of the defence budget. That’s the equivalent of between £2 to £2.4 billion.

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(CND) The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament state on their website that “the current government is in favour of replacing Trident at a cost of around £100 billion. This money would be enough to fully fund A&E services for 40 years, employ 150,000 new nurses, build 1.5 million affordable homes, build 30,000 new primary schools, or cover tuition fees for 4 million students. That includes the cost of running and servicing the submarines over a projected 40-year lifespan.”

Is now the right time to do away with Trident?

Tried and tested Trident does it work as a deterrent?

Dangerous deterrent?

Trident deterrent or threat?

Tired of Trident?

Is it too costly?

Many of the campaigners and protesters against Trident have brought these questions to the Election 2015 spotlight, political parties and candidates have had to put an emphasis on this issue to optimize their opportunities to gain voters.

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Unilateral Disarmament alongside the World is also what Protesters and Campaigners against Trident have been pointing out and are encouraging the stance that the UK could go further with a lateral disarmament?

Would this do the UK and the World a world of good? or not? An interesting fact is that the UK is also a signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which is applied to Trident; as by international law Britain is committed to eliminating its nuclear arsenal under Article VI of the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

190 states have signed the treaty, which states that: “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.” The treaty is reviewed every five years. At the latest NPT Review Conference in New York in 2010, Britain reaffirmed its “unequivocal” commitment to disarm.

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The upcoming General election has found many other questions to be asked of Trident, such as whether or not Trident has become outdated since the Cold War era, and whether it acts as a deterrent or is ineffective in today’s society as there is at present no intent to use Nuclear weaponry.

An Insurance policy, a deterrent only, as has been proclaimed from the beginning of the debates surrounding Trident.

election 2015 too

Most recently in April 2015 David Cameron said “Trident is the ultimate insurance policy for our country.” He also stated at the Conservatives’ Manifesto Launch that he wanted to build four new Submarines not three as the Liberal Democrats want.

The latest debate on Trident has become a key highlight of the Election 2015 and is an issue which seems to have many politicians trying to appeal to a range of their potential voters.

David Cameron made clear his views on Trident making a pledge to renew, whilst Ed tries to work his Miliband magic into the office at No 10, whether Mr Miliband will waver on Trident is awaited by many.

Nicola Sturgeon leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) who has been linked to a potential coalition with Labour, should there be a hung parliament, she said of Trident, that they would make Trident a “red line” issue whereby there is no compromise on whether Trident should be given the go-ahead, “it is a red line issue and will be voted to be scrapped.”

The Green Party who have been outspoken about Trident for a long time said of the pressing issue “The government intentionally pushed the review on our nuclear weapons capability back to 2016 to prevent it becoming a general election issue,” said Lesley Grahame, peace and disarmament spokeswoman for the Green party. “Every pound spent before the decision, before parliament gets to vote on the matter, or a public debate is held, should be considered a very serious blow for democracy.”

Miss Grahame is referring to the blows most recently of an ongoing situation where money is being spent on Trident before the review has taken place which is due in 2016.

Lastly controversy surrounds Trident as it is not an ‘independent nuclear deterrent’ as many like David Cameron and Ed Miliband claim; Trident works with the US which Trident is dependent on and involved with the US; the Trident missiles are manufactured in the US and the alliance has compatible missiles which can be used in the UK submarines as well as the US ones. Yet Trident is still referred to as ‘independent’.

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I spoke to Shasha Khan Green Party Candidate for Croydon North and he gave me his take on an independent  Trident saying:

“It is important to dispel the myth that Trident is an independent nuclear deterrent. These missiles are dependent on US satellites.”

I asked him also what he thought about the renewal of Trident, Shasha told me:

“It is abhorrent to start spending £100 billion pounds on renewing Trident when according to Mumsnet one in five mothers regularly skips a meal so that their children can eat.

There are many dangers and concerns with Trident using the Trident arsenal would cause nuclear proliferation on a destructive scale more powerful than that of Hiroshima. Then there is the threat of Nuclear accidents with submarines, referring to the most recent accident with the Submarine in Russia which caught fire and when in 2011 a sub was carrying atomic weapons and also caught fire.

Many would argue that in today’s world with threats from rogue states and also the threat of international terrorism that Trident is a must, others are saying the costs of Trident is too expensive to the UK and will these weapons of immense destruction ever be used?

Shasha Khan

Shasha Khan and the Green Party believe strongly against Trident and he outlined his concern:

“Renewing Trident sends the wrong message to the rest of the world, it says if you want security you need nuclear missiles.”

To conclude: Trident, scrapped or saved?

Until the General Election 2015 is over Trident will be raged about in debates and the debate will rage on till 2016 which will be ‘decision time’ and Trident will have to be scrapped or saved.

NEW DNA a breakthrough in Science!

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Science has made a breakthrough!

New DNA discovered!

A discovery of a new type of DNA and a discovery of a new unknown.

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Synthetic Biology Scientists have created the First Living Organism with extended and Evolutionary New DNA .

Who  created this Living organism which is a semi-synthetic bacterium brought about by working with Algae and Ecoli Bacterium;

A team of Scientists in California from The Scripps Research Institute:

TSRI Associate Professor Floyd E. Romesberg, led the research team.

DNA!

What is DNA?

DNA IS SHORT FOR : “Deoxyribonucleic acid”

DNA is a molecule that encodes the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms.

DNA is special, because it holds the code for every cell in your body.

DNA is used by every cell in the body, the DNA is an instruction manual for the cells which use it for reference in forming and the DNA essentially assigns the cells with a role of what to do.

In addition and summary, DNA takes the shape of a double stranded helix and is a twisted long ladder like spiralled chain of nucleotides which carry the programming of certain codes for every cell in your body.

The team recently published their report and exclusive coverage was given to Nature Journal, , the lead author of the new report Denis A. Malyshev, a member of the Romesberg laboratory was lead author of the new report, here are a few snippets from the report:

“Organisms are defined by the information encoded in their genomes, and since the origin of life this information has been encoded using a two-base-pair genetic alphabet (A–T and G–C). In the science laboratory the alphabet has been expanded to include several unnatural base pairs (UBPs).

“The expansion of an organism’s genetic alphabet presents new and unprecedented challenges” the latter was said in context of within the laboratory although also rings well in the case of all the World outside of Science.

What does this mean for DNA in general?

The dangers of this are to Nature taking up these new properties of DNA as we now know it, it would be alien man made DNA which could prove dangerous, however the scientists take all precautions to prevent this happening by Neutralising the Bacterium so it cannot multiply or interact with Nature.

The only disadvantage with this NEW DNA is that it needs to be provided with the standard necessay building blocks of DNA which then allows it to go on to create new DNA and through evolution pass this DNA on, as an inherant trait, so this new DNA has to be provided with building blocks, its only limitations. However with this type of DNA, it could prove useful as many synthetic biological bacterium have gone on to do and are still researching into; Such as Ecoli in Diesel, bacterium in the industry of Medicine, DNA studies/manipulation/replication are also happening in IVF, Breast cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Bowel Cancer, Lung Cancer and many more, the aim is to monitor the DNA initially and then try to programme it to fight diseases and cancers, also in the identification stages there can be options to have prevantative surgery, which without DNA there would not be that identification process to assess who needs surgery and who doesn’t.

The industry of Medical healthcare has benefited from DNA research programmes, it helps Dr’s to understand things like life better, genes, life cycles, diseases, illnesses, and can help to better prevent medical problems.

The problems DNA faces are that of how ethical this type of studying and replicating is, also if this information on DNA fall into the hands of the wrong people it can lead to problems, such as Insurance companies assesing you on the merit of your DNA.

Raj News spoke to Dr Nana Oppong, a GP, he said “there has to be strong controls on DNA information, and there are dangers in reliance on DNA and genes and a reliance on replicating DNA and genes, there is a danger to the environment with the issue of self replication, like we’ve seen in IVF where people want certain sexes for their babies, there has to be a controlled process to prevent these dangers to the self, nature and the environment.”

DNA in Science to be more specific Biology, has discovered a breakthrough in DNA, so what can this DNA do?

Well THE DNA IS WHATS NEW ABOUT THIS LIVING ORGANISM (BACTERIUM – E COLI),THE DNA is unknown to nature, also it can transmit its DNA to other DNA make up, for example DNA was before in the Alphabet as A, B, C, D, now with this new DNA it can not only match into a DNA structure and pass on its new DNA it also is the new E and F letters found in this semi-synthetic Bacterium that make up the new DNA alphabet.

This DNA is not only partly artificial, it is also partly real, this Bacterium is a living organism, and as it is unseen before in the Science world of synthetic biology which has seen many Scientist all endeavour with experiements such as the reports published recently by research teams mapping the human proteome maps, with which their reports nearly complete in full the human map for proteome.

So this means a new pair of letters in the Alphabet of DNA’s molecular structure! It also means a new pair of bases in DNA’s molecular structure that are unknown and not found in Nature or the Human. Amazing that this discovery came about via partly artificial bacteria that has produced a new set of DNA.

The Make up of DNA
The DNA in a cell is a pattern made up of four different parts called nucleotides.

An alphabet that has only four letters. DNA is a long string of these four letters.The four letters usually pair in two’s and this is standard behaviour for DNA formation, although there are certain discrepancies that happen in a variation of the standard pairing formula of DNA.

Now we have new letters in the world of DNA and this is a real scientific breakthrough.

This breakthrough has been made in the fields of synthetic biology, which has seen a real buzz in this industry from its time 15 years ago, when this synthetic technoilgoy allowed for this type of experimentation.

What is synthetic biology?

  • Synthetic biology refers to both:
    • the design and fabrication of biological components and systems that do not already exist in the natural world
    • the re-design and fabrication of existing biological systems.

There are two types of synthetic biologists. The first group uses unnatural molecules to mimic natural molecules with the goal of creating artificial life. The second group uses natural molecules and assembles them into a system that acts unnaturally. In general, the goal is to solve problems that are not easily understood through analysis and observation alone and it is only achieved by the manifestation of new models. So far, synthetic biology has produced diagnostic tools for diseases such as HIV and hepatitis viruses as well as devices from biomolecular parts with interesting functions. The term “synthetic biology” was first used on genetically engineered bacteria that were created with recombinant DNA technology which was synonymous with bioengineering. Later the term “synthetic biology” was used as a mean to redesign life which is an extension of biomimetic chemistry, where organic synthesis is used to generate artificial molecules that mimic natural molecules such as enzymes.

dna-science

WHAT DID THEY DO AND WHAT DID THEY ACHIEVE:
In the new study, the team synthesized a stretch of circular DNA known as a plasmid and inserted it into living cells of the common bacterium E. coli.

A key problem was in finding DNA BASE PAIRS that would synchronise with standard DNA and not be attacked by the DNA’s self defense mechanism.

They achieved in getting the E. coli cells to replicate these semi-synthetic DNA bases, which it is capable of replicating.

The new dna bases are not similar at all to standard DNA as the chemical make-ups are considerably different.

What they did in a quote:
“What Romesberg and his team managed to do was insert a small loop of DNA – a plasmid into an Escherichia coli cell – that’s E. coli to you and me, a bacteria that’s usually harmless but can occasionally be quite nasty, indeed.

When the E. coli bacteria replicated, it not only copied its natural DNA, but also created a new pair of the alien bases, and kept doing so generation after generation for nearly a week, until the supply of the nucleoside triphosphates necessary to build the alien bases, which were in a fluid surrounding the bacteria, ran out.”

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/05/08/boffinary_breakthrough_first_selfreplicating_life_with_alien_dna/

HOW DID THEY DO IT?

Romesberg and his laboratory have been working since the late 1990s to find pairs of molecules that could serve as new, functional DNA bases—and, in principle, could code for proteins and organisms that have never existed before.

With this latest discovery MAY 7th 2014, Romesberg’s laboratory had discovered, two molecules known as d5SICS and dNaM. The goal was to get the E. coli cells to replicate this semi-synthetic DNA as normally as possible.

The experiment involved the use of two new base molecules – known as d5SICS* and dNaM*, (THE name of the two NEW DNA) -, scientists found thaTht these molecules could be stably incorporated as a pair into a standard stretch of DNA known as a ‘plasmid’ molecule in vitro (in the “test tube”.).  The E COLI BACTERIUM then went on to form with the plasmid DNA, which only contained natural T-A and C-G base pairs (strands of DNA) along with the best-performing unnatural base pair.

The research was funded in part by the US National Institutes of Health

DNA GREEN

Why are Scientists globally working to redesign bacterium?

This is because Bacteria are the simplest known objects from the natural world that are capable of replicating when provided with only simpler components (e.g., broth). Still, bacteria are far from simple. Bacteria also provide the basic environment in which synthetic biological systems exist and act (i.e., they are like the power supply and chassis of a computer). By re-designing/refactoring a simple living system we hope to learn how to better couple (and decouple) our designed systems from their host environment.

MORE ON SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY and Scientists:

Synthetic biologists are trying to assemble unnatural components to support Darwinian evolution. Recently, the engineering community is seeking to extract components from the biological systems to test and confirm them as building units to be reassembled in a way that can mimic the living nature.

In the engineering aspect of synthetic biology, the suitable parts are the ones that can contribute independently to the whole system so that the behavior of an assembly can be predicted.

 

DNA RED

 

The History of DNA :

DNA consists of double-stranded anti-parallel strands each having four various nucleotides assembled from bases, sugars and phosphates which are made of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen and phosphorus atoms.

“With analysis and observation alone, scientists convince themselves that the paradigms are the truth and if the data contradicts the theory, the data normally is discarded as an error, where synthesis encourages scientists to cross into the new land and define new theories.

The same synthesis has long been used in chemistry such as chromatography. The combination of chemistry, biology and engineering can therefore create artificial Darwinian systems.”

To conclude – DNA has always remained the same throughout Nature since the dawn of the earth, now the unknown DNA is in stark contrast to the view that everyliving thing has the same DNA. The oldest evolutionary ancestral human DNA to date is 40,000 years old and is the same make up as the DNA of everything else, now will this new UNKNOWN DNA work in finding further new discoveries in the spiralling world of DNA?

Other interesting fields making breakthroughs in Science are the Proteme study, which is the study of The Human Proteome Map, which maps the proteins within the body and its functions. (Links to sites below).

http://phillysportsreport.com/science-27/independent-research-groups-publish-near-complete-human-proteome-maps-240.html

Also there are in the world of biology things like extreme cross breeding to bring about Spider Goats (Synthetic biology used to cross breed ‘spiders qualities to goats. )

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/jan/14/synthetic-biology-spider-goat-genetics

And Stell cell embryo research : Stem Cells have the potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth. In addition, in many tissues they serve as a sort of internal repair system, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell. There are studies of both adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells.

http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/pages/basics1.aspx

Here’s a link for ‘explaining DNA simply put’

http://tfscientist.hubpages.com/hub/explaining-dna-to-a-six-year-old

And finally I mentioned about the Oldest Human DNA Is 400,000 Years Old – here’s the link:

http://www.ibtimes.com/oldest-human-dna-400000-years-old-why-do-scientists-call-discovery-irritating-1495796

Nelson Mandela and Maya Angelou: Tribute Poem by Raj : Inspiring Leaders

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leaders

At Nelson Mandela’s funeral, Maya Angelou read a poem written by her for him, this time I would like to post a poem I have written for both of them.

I’d like to say that they both were leaders of significant importance and they should be remembered for all their hard work and dedication and the movements they led, tirelessly, they are the role models of their time and I remember them for that.

My Poem by Raj:

Inspiring Leaders

The loss of your Lives, your Lives, your Lives,

Those Movements of your lives, your lives, your lives, are remembered with the actions, actions, actions of your lives.

Movements that you thought.

Movements that you dreamt.

Movements that you fought.

Movements that you led.

Movements that you loved.

Movements that you lived.

For those Movements you spent, your lives, your lives, your lives.

Movements that you inspired through difficult times, inspiring throughout your lifetime, they went on to span thousands of miles and touched millions of lives, lives, lives.

Those Movements, you saw us through, with Peace and Love, hand in hand and broke through barriers of race, colour, hatred, discrimination, war and much, much more.

Movements, Movements, Movements, Moments, Moments, Moments,

Movements that you led, with everything that you had, and with everything that you said, people you inspired, whilst you never tired.

Your lives your lives your lives, for a better World, in service of humanity.

In every Movement you were there for every moment, in effort to make the World a better place.

Everyone will remember you for all your important moments and will always be inspired by your lives, your lives, your lives, in your every moment, moment, moment, you have only inspired, inspired, inspired our Lives, our Lives, our Lives.

Thank you for your leadership.

 

Raj Mehta

Written by Raj

May 30, 2014 at 12:50 am

Lords’ Pro-Fracking Report published yet Poll shows Fracking not in Favour!

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Lord MacGregor was saying recently that Fracking in Britain holds many benefits. Recently a report published by The Lords Economic Affairs Committee, whom one or more of the members on the committee is said to have  links to Pro-Fracking corporations, have given their views on drilling for Shale Gas, they have outlined in the report that they back the Government’s decision to go “all out for shale”, however they make a request to do far more to engage the public on the benefits of Fracking in the UK and say it will provide more jobs, and bring about energy security.

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The report published went on to say that “Developing a successful shale gas and oil industry in the UK must be an urgent national priority.”

Although the report may have taken a liking to Fracking in terms of short-term money and making a quick buck, there are many dangers to Fracking and instead of taking a cautious approach, the committee have asked to speed up the implementation for the plans to Frack. If so many people are opposed surely they should be heard and their concerns addressed. Realistically many would now say that Fracking should not happen, as there are too many dangers involved with the focus on the wrong type of energy (fossil) instead of on green and clean renewable energy.

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The Green Party Leader of Croydon Shasha Khan said upon being questioned by Raj News that “The Government should seize the opportunity to embrace energy reduction with renewables not Fracking.

Fracking is an extreme energy source” Shasha went on to speak of Cuadrilla an oil and gas exploration company in the UK who are pursuing Shale Gas in the UK by hydraulic fracturing in the ground, he said “Cuadrilla have already said that energy prices will not come down due to Fracking, so why risk polluting our water.”

The report mentioned the EU’s reliance on Russia for Gas and how Fracking would stop this reliance. They do not however mention the EU’s fine to the UK for not meeting its Air Quality/Pollution requirements, there is a pending case against the UK by the EU, which could see the UK picking up bills worth millions for not doing enough to reduce the pollution and cleaning up the air.

The UK could see these fines dropped if the Government acts now and can show there is an improvement, in air quality. With car traffic jams in areas and things like incinerators, unnecessarily burning waste when it could be recycled, where is the encouragement to the public on these issues.

The Green party have been doing their bit in Croydon, opposing an Incinerator in Beddington Lane by putting in a judicial review, against Mayor Boris Johnson’s plan to have an incinerator in Beddington Lane which would serve Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Kingston, although there is danger of toxic fumes carrying downwind, unfairly building up, to pollute areas, which do not want to be harmed, by these dangerous fumes.

greenparty logo

With all these prominent dangers at the forefront, the Government still want to dangerously fracture the earth in an effort to unlock Shale gas, the dangers of this are creating toxic drinking water as Shasha Khan mentions and instead of trying to promote renewable energy, the Government wants to continue focusing on fossil fuels at the cost of damaging the UK – Fracking has been linked to Earthquakes.

fracking-infographic

When it comes to regulation of Fracking the Lord’s have said that regulation should be streamlined, such as in cases where a company may want to drill under people’s houses they can do so without needing a license.

The Lords’ report seems to promote fracking and Lord MacGregor said on a radio interview with the BBC that Fracking will provide the public with lower fuel bills, he also mentions the US taking up Fracking. The radio host points out that “in the USA there are vasts amounts of unpopulated land, whereas in the UK you’re looking to do Fracking in relatively populated areas.” Lord MacGregor says that they’ve looked at this problem and any effects to the environment, yet this is a cherry picked report  which gives us a selected amount of information that is Pro-Fracking.

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Chief scientist Dr Doug Parr of Green Peace UK says of the report: “On one page the Lords are saying public concerns should be taken seriously, on the other they urge the government to strip people of their right to say no to Fracking firms planning to drill under their homes – a move opposed by three-quarters of British people.” They also backed moves by the Government to change trespass laws so that shale companies could drill under people’s property without their permission to ensure development could go ahead “without undue delay or cost”.

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Caroline Lucas of the Green Party also featured in the interview, she made it clear that Fracking is not a solution to anything and pointed out surely the UK are not going to go ahead with this. She mentioned that there are far more jobs in renewable energy compared to that of Fossil fuels. She spoke of having a cap on fossil fuel emissions, and how drilling for shale gas can cause levels in methane to increase which is dangerous, especially as the numbers on methane gas is highly underestimated.

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I would stress that this is a swipe by the Government to make some quick money, rather than educate the public on this issue and listen to the people who are, now, in a poll, overall against Fracking, in the UK.

Dr Parr criticised the report, warning Fracking was a “non-solution” that would not deliver for many years, if at all. Caroline Lucas points out that Fracking would lock us into the fossil fuel industry rather than working towards a positive renewable clean energy industry.

Dr Parr’s analysis of the report was a realistic one and he said, “The Lords spent seven months cherry-picking the wafer thin evidence that fits a foregone conclusion about the benefits of shale gas. This is just more taxpayer-funded cheerleading from unelected politicians who seem all too happy to ignore the country’s legitimate concerns about Fracking.”

The Dr and Caroline Lucas and Shasha Khan echoed each other when they spoke of the real urgent national priority, which is to push ahead with the renewable technology and efficiency measures.

Although the BBC did not mention in an article about Fracking that the Green Party (whom of late have not even had much media coverage by the BBC in the elections) whose Leader Natalie Bennet is a keen campaigner against Fracking alongside Caroline Lucas who was arrested for protesting against Fracking, after having real concerns about the UK issue of Fracking and alongside Green Peace, WWF, and Friends of the Earth’s concerns – who also did not get much coverage either.

The BBC did highlight the dangers of chemicals in Fracking they said:

“Hydraulic fracturing of shale to extract gas involves pumping water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure to allow the gas to flow out to the head of the well.

There is a worry that chemicals used in Fracking may escape and contaminate groundwater around the Fracking site.

Another environmental concern is that Fracking uses huge amounts of water that must be transported to the Fracking site, at significant environmental cost.”

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The campaigning group, Friends of the Earth, commented: “The report recognises that the regulations aren’t working – but calling for the Government to ‘simplify’ regulations and speed up the process will not reassure local communities and a public unconvinced by this risky technology.”

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The WWF- UK said:

Nick Molho, Head of Climate and Energy Policy at WWF-UK said: “The Lords seemed to have overlooked the many serious analysts who have said that shale gas in the UK is unlikely to have much impact on either gas prices or the UK’s rising exposure to gas imports.

“If we are genuinely going to reduce the UK’s vulnerability to future fossil fuel price shocks, the main priority must be to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels in the first place.

“Moving rapidly towards an energy system that’s more efficient, low-carbon and better integrated with those of our European partners should therefore remain the UK’s highest national priority when it comes to energy policy.”

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In conclusion:

There is a danger in going after shale gas, which is still unknown about in terms of quantity, quality and is most likely under the ground in different layers, making it difficult to access; whereas in the USA there is land which is flat and plenty in unpopulated areas, making the gas easier to extract, the same cannot be said for the UK with its populated areas and complex land structure and layers of the earth.

Fracking has added to the climate change debate, and Fracking will only damage the climate, which Fracking can have serious implications on, nevertheless it has become a part of the debate on climate change as it can cause a huge set back to the climate through air quality, natural disasters, water contamination and earthquakes; there should be a focus on renewable energy rather than using less dirtier fossil fuel (Shale gas compared to Coal), which looks set to harm the UK, residents, and environment just as much, if money was spent on Green renewable energy, this would pay off in the longterm.

There are so many alternatives yet Fracking is what the Government want to pursue. There are many out there protesting against Fracking to put a stop on it before it starts, make sure your concerns are heard write to the politicians and tell them to stop their plans as not many of the members of the public agree with Fracking and it is dangerous and also we cannot afford to miss the opportunity to work now on the future with renewable energy, which is clean, green, job making, and recyclable, renewable, and the future.

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Written by Raj

May 21, 2014 at 8:52 am

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